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Knicks Bulletin: How to solve Julius Randle’s absence, OG Anunoby’s injury...

Straight Outta Sources.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Knicks played their first game this season without two-time All-Star Julius Randle after the forward dislocated his right, non-shooting shoulder in the matchup against the Miami Heat last Saturday.

So far, so good for New York as it mauled the Hornets beating them 113-92 in Charlotte without Randle and fellow starter OG Anunoby, who was a participant in the warmups but ultimately ruled out with an elbow inflammation.

New York (30-17) moved closer to the Sixers (29-16) in the Eastern Conference standings, tying them in the games-behind column with both franchises trailing no. 2 Milwaukee by a couple of games after Monday’s slate of games was over.

Here is everything we heard from the protagonists of Monday’s affair in Charlotte before and after the game between the Knicks and the Hornets.

Tom Thibodeau

On Julius Randle’s status following the initial tests...

“He’s continuing to go through testing. And so, until that’s finalized we’re not going to really have more information for you. It’s just gathering the information and then once it’s complete, then there will be a course of action.”

“I’m always optimistic. You hope for the best, but you plan for the worst. So we’re encouraged that he takes great care of himself. That’s a huge plus, being in great shape. And so hopefully it’s positive in the end. And I don’t want to speculate, but I’m hopeful.”

On OG Anunoby’s injury and decision to rule him out right before Monday’s tip-off...

“He warmed up and just didn’t feel comfortable. We’ll see where he is tomorrow. He’s had it before but it was one of those things that flared up. If he can’t play, he can’t play. Next guy gets in there and gets it done.”

“I think it’s going to be day-to-day. It’s an inflammation. So we’ll see where it is tomorrow. He went through a shootaround. He was planning on playing. It was a late scratch.”

On finding ways to replace Randle and Anunoby on the lineup...

“You’re not replacing Julius with any one player. Same with OG. So for us, (it’ll be) the collection of everybody working together.”

“Everyone is capable of playing great defense. Everyone is capable of moving the ball well. Everyone is capable of taking care of the ball and not turning the ball over. If you’re open, shoot it. If you’re not open, make a play for your teammate. And if we do that, we can beat anyone.”

On overcoming the absences of Randle and OG Anunoby on Monday...

“You can’t replace those guys individually so you have to count on your defense and rebounding and creating advantages for each other.”

”We got the usual from Jalen (Brunson) but I thought Josh (Hart) was fantastic, Donte (DiVincenzo) was terrific, and I thought Precious’ (Achiuwa) first time playing at the power forward—Jericho (Sims) gave us really good minutes as well. And I thought Deuce (McBride’s) defense was big too. Quentin (Grimes) played great, too.”

On giving Donte DiVincenzo the green light to shoot 15 three-point attempts...

“We need that, we obviously need the volume threes.”

On getting an ovation from the crowd during the lineup introductions...

“I didn’t notice that but I think Josh [Hart] pointed it out to me. Asked me if it was my family.”

Josh Hart

On getting the news of Randle expected to be out “weeks” instead of “months”...

“That has us in good spirits, that he’s not gonna be out too long. So we just gotta make sure that we kinda stay afloat during that time. I think we have the pieces to do that. So we gotta focus on that and hopefully, he gets well soon.”

On how the Knicks will replace Randle’s production during the next few weeks...

“I think it’s going to be a collective (effort), unless between now and game time I can put on 45 pounds of mostly muscle. I think it’ll just be a common collective effort. It’s not going to be about just one person. It’s going to be everyone is stepping up.”

“We have to stay afloat during that time. I think we have the pieces to do that.”

On chasing the ball trying to get as many steals and rebounds as possible on defense as a team...

“We don’t really talk about it, but we know we all like to kind of get in the open floor, and obviously, to do that you gotta get steals, rebounds, force bad shots and then just kinda play to your strengths.”

On Thibs getting an ovation from the crowd in Charlotte...

“Thibs got an ovation, man. So I was excited for him.”

“Coach is always at fault. For him to get some love, that was cool.”

Donte DiVincenzo

On knowing Randle won’t be lost for the year with a season-ending injury...

“When you hear weeks, not months, obviously it’s a good sign. Being here in my first year (with the Knicks), what I know about Julius is he’s going to do everything possible to cut whatever the timeline is, he’s going to try to cut that down, try to get back.”

“He was feeling better, he was in good spirits. He’s going as hard as he possibly can to get back there. He loves ball. So I was just happy he was feeling better from the night before. He looked in pain.”

On what Julius Randle gives the Knicks and how to make up for his absence...

“He’s a big dude. A lot of the time he’s down on the weak side, collecting those rebounds. It’s going to take two or three guys to get the big dudes off the boards. The guards — Jalen (Brunson) and myself, Quentin (Grimes) — we’re going to have to fly in there.”

“Josh is a good rebounder. OG. They’re going to have some bigger bodies on them. So it’s up to us to fly in there and help them out and also just kind of go in there and grab the board.”

On the Knicks roster outlook and its players’ skill sets and how they will need to adapt to Randle’s absence...

“It’s weird because [we] don’t label our team as 1, 2 and 3 options. I think the way we play is way different than teams I’ve played for in the past—we have so many different guys who can attack and our offense isn’t designed just to do one pick-and-roll shot. It’s designed to attack the rim, spray out, and play free-flowing basketball.”

“We don’t have guys who are soft guys that are fancy and all that stuff. Everybody is a hard-nosed dude who tries to attack the rim. If they don’t have it, try to kick it out, if you’re open, shoot the ball. So I don’t think you change your identity at all.”

“The main thing is it needs to be a collective effort. There shouldn’t be pressure on one person to step in for Julius and have 25 and 10 a night. It’s not fair to them, it’s not fair to our team.”

“Collectively, we have more than enough on the team to get through this stretch whenever he comes back.”

“I think [Anunoby] will probably have more play calls and stuff. But it’s not going to change his game. He’s not going to start doing isolation and all that stuff. He’s just going to try to stay true to who he is and make the right play as a basketball player.”

Jalen Brunson

On beating the Hornets on the road in the first game without Randle...

“It’s definitely a plus when you can win on the road no matter who is on the court. Obviously, we are going to miss him, but we have to continue to find ways to get better every single day no matter who is out there, no matter who we are playing. Just have that mindset every single day.”

On facing stronger defensive looks with Randle out and opponents locking on him...

“I’m gonna tell the defense to double me. So that I can do the same thing Julius does.”

On facing the adversity of losing Randle for the next few weeks or months...

“Whatever it takes, we’ll find a way.”

Cody Martin (Charlotte Hornets Player)

On defending Jalen Brunson...

“He’s a tough cover, man. He’s really mastered his footwork. When he gets into the paint, not only can he score the ball but he’s a floor general. He knows the reads, he knows what to look for and he makes his team better. It allows his whole team to play with a lot of confidence.”

Steve Clifford (Charlotte Hornets Head Coach)

On getting ejected in the second half after arguing a non-call with a referee...

“I wish I wouldn’t have done that—it doesn’t help anything.”

“He got hit in the face. To me, they’ve got to see that. Again, you don’t want to get kicked out of the game. That doesn’t help anything. Handling frustration is a big part of this league even when you’re a really good team, and in a situation like this, it’s critical that we all do it. That starts with me, so I can’t be doing that.”